The Twentieth Century Society

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New books on C20 architecture and design – Spring 2016

In each issue of C20 magazine we review a wide selection of new books on architecture and design at home and abroad. You can read the reviews from other back issues on our website. Here’s a round-up of noteworthy new titles, including some that will be reviewed in the forthcoming magazine.
concret concept cover

New books on Brutalism

Christopher Beanland’s Concrete Concept: Brutalist Buildings around the World (Frances Lincoln, 192pp, £20), explores the variety and the beauty of Brutalism, through 50 buildings around the world. It’s not out until 21 April, but fans of concrete will also enjoy Barnabas Calder’s Raw Concrete: The Beauty of Brutalism (William Heinemann, 400pp, £19.99), which focuses on just eight extraordinary buildings – all in the UK.

On a more serious note, Alan Clawley charts the troubled history of John Madin’s Birmingham Central Library in Library Story: A History of Birmingham Central Library (216pp, £15). Another recent C20 case, Robin Hood Gardens, is the subject of Jessie Brennan’s Regeneration! Conversations, Drawings, Archives and Photographs from Robin Hood Gardens.

If there’s still room on your Brutalism shelf, we recommend Elain Harwood’s Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-1975 (Yale University Press, 736pp, £50).

Things to see

There’s a new book by Owen Hopkins to accompany the Mavericks exhibition, which continues at the Royal Academy. Mavericks: Breaking the Mould of British Architecture (Royal Academy of Arts, 128pp, £12.95) assesses the contributions of 12 radical figures in British architecture, from Sir John Soane to Zaha Hadid. Hopkins is also the author of From the Shadows: The Architecture and Afterlife of Nicholas Hawksmoor (Reaktion, 344pp, £25), which considers his influence on post-war practitioners, including Lasdun, Venturi and Stirling.

While Hawksmoor’s great London churches have stood the test of time, we’re not sure the same can be said about the Woolworth’s stores that once stood on every major British high street. Kathryn A Morrison’s Woolworth’s: 100 Years on the High Street (Historic England, 240pp, £50) charts the history of those rather prosaic buildings. More wide-ranging is Art deco traveller: a guide to Britain (Art Deco Publisher, 260pp, £9.99), in which Genista Davidson explores how this enduring style was interpreted in Britain’s hotels, restaurants, theatres and lidos.

Modern Forms: A Subjective Atlas of 20th Century Architecture (Prestel, 224pp, £29.99) features the work of award-winning photographer Nicolas Grospierre. From churches and libraries to Oscar Niemeyer’s uncompleted International Fair Grounds in Tripoli, modernist buildings are considered in the context of political and social ideologies.

Even if you missed The World of Charles and Ray Eames at the Barbican, you can still buy the exhibition catalogue by Catherine Ince and Lotte Johnson (Thames and Hudson, 320pp, £45).

Homes and Places front cover

Housing in Nottingham

Chris Matthews, regional rep for our C20 East Midlands group, has written Homes and Places, a History of Nottingham’s Council Houses (Nottingham City Homes, 104pp, £9.99) to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Nottingham City Homes. Charting the successes of Nottingham’s social housing programme through the buildings and the residents, the book has generated some great publicity and has been a local history bestseller at The Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham.

C20 Journals still available to buy

Finally, a reminder that our most recent C20 Journal 12, Houses, is still available to buy from the website along with many other C20 Journals and publications.


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